The Big Conversation
The Tribune's Matthew Watkins has a report this morning on ballooning compensation for Texas universities' chancellors and presidents.
He writes, "In the past four years, total pay has grown 70 percent for the leaders of Texas’ six university systems and presidents of those systems’ namesake schools — the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, the University of North Texas, the University of Houston and Texas State University. In 2012, their average compensation was $565,000. In 2016, it’s $955,000, according to data from the Legislative Budget Board."
Four top-level public university administrators now make in excess of $1 million per year, Watkins reports.
"The growth is uneven, but each of the six university systems is paying its chancellors and flagship university presidents significantly more than in 2012," he writes. "In some cases, turnover can at least partially explain the growth. In others, the administrators simply received big raises."
Nevertheless, a spike in compensation packages comes alongside continued tuition increases that are hitting Texas parents in the pocketbook. And that has lawmakers' attention.
Watkins noted that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick decried this week large bonuses and salaries for top employees, suggesting it was a sign universities aren’t being as stingy with their money has they have suggested.
“If you go into higher education,” Patrick said at a press conference in the Capitol, “you don’t do it to get rich and make a million dollars per year.”
Disclosure: The University of Texas System, the University of Texas at Austin, the Texas A&M System, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas and the Texas State System have been financial sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Trib Must Reads
Texas Money Floats Republican Efforts to Hold U.S. House Seats, by Abby Livingston — As Republican campaign operatives raise concerns that the party could lose U.S. House seats with Donald Trump as its standard-bearer, Texas Republicans are funding efforts to shore up vulnerable incumbents around the country.
Analysis: Taking Culture Wars to the Toilets, by Ross Ramsey — Politically, bathroom bans are in the same category as requiring voters to show photo IDs — a favorite on the right — and renaming buildings and things after historical figures who haven’t fallen out of favor — a current liberal favorite.
Fetal Tissue Research Limited but Important, Lawmakers Told, by Edgar Walters — Texas public university officials told lawmakers on Thursday that scientific research using human fetal tissue was limited in scope but crucial to medical advances.
Cornyn Files Bill to Speed Hurricane Study, by Kiah Collier and Neena Satija — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has filed legislation to expedite a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study that will determine how best to protect the Houston region from a devastating hurricane.
John Boehner Calls Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the Flesh", by Patrick Svitek — Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has never been much of a fan of Ted Cruz. He made that clearer than ever Wednesday.
The Day Ahead
• The Tribune hosts a day-long symposium on the state of the Texas economy at the University of Houston Central Campus - Bauer College of Business. Topics of discussion will include best practices in job creation, the fight over economic incentives, what’s next for tax reform and the inner workings of the Texas budget. The event will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.
Cruz’s latest fight with fellow Republicans is a reminder: Many don’t like the guy, The Washington Post
West Texas Site Applies for Nuke Waste License, Medill News Service
First Cash, Cash America merging to form giant pawnshop company, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas districts document dozens of problems with 2016 STAAR testing, Austin American-Statesman
Bexar property appraisals are up — again, San Antonio Express-News
Sexist software? Tarrant property appraisal notices change names of women, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Guns are just part of the landscape in West Texas county with highest rate of license-holders, The Dallas Morning News
Legendary News sportswriter Blackie Sherrod dies at 96, The Dallas Morning News
Quote to Note
“Ted Cruz is the political version of liver and onions. Some people love it and can’t get enough. And some people gag at the mere thought of it.”
— GOP strategist Ana Navarro on the divisions that Cruz has created in his own party
News From Home
• As a 501(c)(3), The Texas Tribune is funded by foundations, corporate sponsors and individuals — wealthy and not. It’s the “not” that especially validates the effort that goes into producing everything on and off our site, when regular folks see the value of the Tribune and make a small-dollar contribution that is meaningful to them and to us. We’re in Day 2 of our spring member drive, and we appreciate the community buy-in that you and other readers show for our mission to make Texas better and smarter for us all. Please join us if you haven’t already.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• The Texas Tribune's third Texas-centric Trivia Night on May 1 at The Highball in Austin
• A Live Members-Only TribCast on May 4 at The Townsend in Austin
• A Conversation on Mental Health Matters on May 10 at KLRU Studio 6A in Austin
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin